In ingredient on June 15, 2010 at 12:34 am

oh rhubarb, you tart, delicious spring treat, you.

despite its eerie similarity to celery, i love this stuff. can’t get enough. and i don’t mean in the sickly-sweet, strawberry pie variety. i mean stewed up with hardly any sugar, maybe a few white raisins… and eaten for breakfast!

or like this:

start by washing the stalks. according to my trusted fannie farmer cookbook, it doesn’t matter if the stalks are all red or mostly green – color is determined by variety, not ripeness. so, don’t worry about finding red ones. and in terms of size, early in the season, thick or thin stalks are both going to be flavorful. later in the season (like mid-summer), opt for thinner stalks, as the thicker will mean tougher.

just don’t eat the leaves – they’re poisonous!

cut into about 3/4-inch lengths.

and throw into a sauce pan with a tablespoon or two of water. if i’m stewing for breakfast or to serve drizzled over vanilla ice cream, i cook it down much further. but the point here was just to soften it – otherwise it would still be raw by the time the crisp topping was done (which only takes about 12-15 minutes).

if you’re stewing for breakfast, i recommend adding white raisins (they get so plump!) and a little bit of sugar.

here, in stead of sugar, i took it off the heat and added some chopped strawberries. these cook in about 12-15 minutes, too, so no need to prestew them, just stir in.

this mixture can be made ahead of the actual dessert, although if you refrigerate it, make sure it goes into the oven at room temp.

you can also make your crumble topping ahead of time. i keep a tupperware of it in the fridge constantly in case a craving for crisp hits.

1/2 cup oats, 1 cup flour flour, 1/2 cup brown sugar, a little salt, teaspoon cinnamon…

mix well, then add half a stick of butter, cut up. i couldn’t quite get a good picture of this, but use your fingers to rub it all together – mixing the butter in and getting to a sand-like texture.

when you’re ready to assemble, preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

then spoon the fruit mixture into ramekins

top with a generous amount of crumble, and bake until the top is golden and the fruit is bubbling.

don’t forget you can make crisp with just strawberries, blueberries, apples, peaches… all you need to do is think about how long your fruit will take to cook and precook enough so that it will be perfect after those last 12-15 minutes in the oven while the topping is crisping up.


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